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Let Me Go
“I can't see a thing!” Debby exclaimed from the front of the car. Sara peeled her eyes open and looked out the window. She couldn't even see the side rail there was so much snow.
“How fast are you going?” Sara asked Debby as she sat up from the sleepy position she'd slipped into.
“Oh, so we got off the interstate?” Sara yawned and leaned forward. In front window was the same type of picture she saw when she looked outside her window. The only difference was that there were headlights that tried to shine through the wall.
“No, this is the interstate.” Debby looked in her rearview mirror and met Sara's glance, “but we're in town now.” Sara smiled.
“I can't wait to be home and see Daddy.”
“I know sweetie, I can't wait to see him either.”
Sara, Debby, and her younger brother Mike, who was still asleep in the front seat, had gone to Debby's mom's house for a few days, since she was extremely sick. Jim, Sara and Mike's dad and Debby's husband, had come home from a month long business trip while they were gone for the week. Unfortunately, he was too busy in the office to come meet them.
“Mom?” Mike sat up and rubbed at his eyes. “Where are we?”
“We're just inside the town lines right now, at this speed we'll be home in about a half an hour. This storm is making cars go very slow,” Debby answered and Mike nodded.
“When did this start?” He asked.
“This bad? About an hour ago.”
“Wow, it usually only takes forty-five minutes to get to Gram's house and back, right?”
“Yeah you're right. That's how bad....”
“Mom! Watch out!” Sara yelled.
Suddenly two red lights flashed through the wall of snow. Debby slammed on the breaks, but that didn't stop the car. All it did was make it slide even more. In seconds, the back of an eighteen-wheeler came into view. The small Toyota Camry kept moving forward. A crunch sounded as the bottom of the truck stripped off the roof of their car. Sara saw a quick glimpse of the truck taking off her mother and brother’s heads. She went to scream, but didn’t have the time before the truck did the same to her.
The truck driver startled by the odd movement coming from the bottom of the truck, made him slam on the breaks. He hoped that no one was driving behind him. Little did he know there were three decapitated people under his truck.
The man hopped out into the storm. The driving snow made it hard for him to see the wreckage right away, but as he slowly walked forward, he saw what had happened. Instantly, he leaned over and puked in the middle of the interstate.
The sun was bright, the sky shined blue with puffy white clouds scattered across the vast space. The wind whipped at Jim’s clothes, but under his helmet was soft music playing. His memory filtered from his nightmare back to reality. He sighed, and turned his motorcycle towards home.
Why did that have to happen? Why him? It had been ten years and the pain hadn’t lessen any. His beautiful daughter Sara could’ve been married by now with a bright future. Mike would be just graduating, and be at the beginning of the rest of his life. And Debby, oh his sweet Debby. A deeper pain stung his heart whenever he thought about her. They were supposed to stay together forever. A thought came into his head then, “until death do us part.” Why did that have to be so early? He glanced down at his left hand, where his wedding band still stayed. His eyes welled with tears. When he looks back up to the road, he doesn’t turn or falter when a deer jumped out in the middle of his path.
Beep...beep..beep...beep. Everything was numb. Jim couldn’t feel a thing. The smell of alcohol wafted through his nose. His eyes fluttered open to see a small woman’s body wrapped up in a chair. She was sleeping. She’s his younger, thirty-five year old sister Kayla. He tried to speak, but nothing came out. He realized that there was a tube in his mouth. He grunted, trying to get Kayla’s attention. Her eyes stayed closed. So Jim waited and thought about what happened, what he wished had happened to him in the crash, and why his sister was there.
The last time he had seen his sister, which had to have been about five years ago, it had ended badly. Ever since they were kids they hadn’t been very close. The always argued a lot, especially when it came to how they handled things. They started arguing about something stupid, Jim couldn’t even remember what it was. By the end of it, Kayla walked out of his house and vowed that she would never talk to him again.
Jim guessed that this accident was an exception.
Kayla stirred and stretched. She rubbed her eyes and made eye contact with Jim. Her eyes were slow, but Jim watched the realization filter through. She hopped up quickly to get a nurse. She came back with an entourage of nurses and a doctor.
“Look who’s awake!” The doctor exclaimed. Jim grunted. “I’m Dr. Stephen Alton. I’ve been the one watching over you and examining you since you came in from a motorcycle accident. You hit a deer.” Jim nodded. “You remember. Do you remember anything after seeing the deer?” Jim shook his head no. “I didn’t think you would. Well, you’ve been in a coma for the past three weeks. It seems as though you have lost all nerve and motor functions from your neck down. Meaning that you are paralyzed. Since you’re awake, I would like to do a couple more tests just to make sure. Does that sound okay?” The young, good looking man waited for Jim’s reply.
That’s okay, he mouthed.
For the next couple of hours, tests were run on him. He was scanned and poked and asked to wiggle different parts of his body. He’d been dependent on a breathing tube this whole time, and ate through a different one. The next afternoon, it was just his sister and him in the room. She pulled up a chair next to him.
“Jim?” Kayla got Jim’s attention. “I’ve had to do a lot of thinking these past weeks. Most of it was thinking back. I know if I had the chance, if I was you, I would’ve wanted to say goodbye to Debby and the kids,” she paused and blinked back tears. “So I’m taking right now to try to clean my slate. I’m so sorry for how hard I’ve been on you. I realize now how hard it must’ve been for you to look after me when Mom was at one of her jobs. I just don’t want you to leave me without me getting a chance to say it. I wish that most of the stuff that happened between us hadn’t,” she paused, “do you think the same way?” Jim nodded and Kayla took his hand in hers. He couldn’t feel the motion, only watched it. “I’m sorry Jim. I know they’re going to ask you about dying and I think I know what you’re going to say.” Jim nodded. “I’m just glad you know that I’m sorry.” Tears rolled softly down her cheeks.
I am too, he mouthed. Just then, Dr. Alton walked in.
“Am I interrupting?” He asked uncomfortably.
“No, we were just finishing up talking,” Kayla wiped at her eyes.
“Then let’s get started.” Dr. Alton paused and moved to stand in front of Jim’s bed. “So the news isn’t good. All of the tests have come back. Basically, they say that you’ll be paralyzed from the neck down for the rest of your life. Along with being dependent to a wheelchair, you’ll be dependent to a breathing machine because your nerves don’t allow them to function anymore...” he trailed off. Jim turned his head so that he looks at Kayla. Her eyes filled with tears again. She tried to smile, but it wavered. Kayla looked back to the doctor, and Jim followed the action.
“Now, I know your legal requests, and Kayla and I have already talked about the possibilities of what to do next,” Jim nodded, “Do you want to be resuscitated?”
Jim shook his head. No.
“Are you sure?” The doctor asked.
Let me go.
The doctor nodded and left the room. Kayla got up and hugged Jim. He leaned his head in to let her know he was hugging her back. He grunted to get her attention. She pulled away from him and looked him in the eyes.
I love you.
“I love you too, Jimmy,” her voice cracked.
“Bye.” She leaned forward and kissed his forehead then grasped his hand in hers. A nurse entered the room with a needle. She walked over to Jim’s IV and stuck the needle into a slot on the cord.
Jim’s eyes started to close. He watched as his sister became a hazy figure in his vision, and then he let go.